Proposal for new bridge yet to get administrative nod

A view of the Thripunithura iron bridge on Saturday.   | Photo Credit: Thulasi Kakkat

The Public Works Department (PWD) has resubmitted the proposal for a new bridge replacing the more-than-a-century-old iron bridge at Thripunithura after the proposal failed to receive administrative sanction from the government when it was originally submitted in October 2019.

The new bridge, which is estimated to cost ₹29 crore, was included in the list of 26 new bridges planned across the State after Thripunithura MLA M. Swaraj raised the issue in the Assembly as a submission a few months back.

“The preliminary proceedings, including soil test, design, and detailed project report, have already been completed. There was some delay owing to the pandemic, but the work may get under way soon now,” said Mr. Swaraj.

Traffic along the 120-year-old iron bridge has been restricted to two-wheelers for over a year now after the PWD found it weak for heavier traffic, much to the discontent of residents on both sides of the bridge.

“If the new bridge is going to be further delayed, then at least three-wheelers should be allowed through the existing bridge to ease transportation woes,” said T. Gopakumar, president of the Kottaykkakam Residents’ Association.

Vasudevan Unni, president of the Valappikkadavu Residents’ Association, said restricted entry to the iron bridge had made access to Thripunithura, including emergency visits to the nearest hospital in the municipality, cumbersome. “Residents now have to take the circuitous route through Pettah or the Bypass to reach Thripunithura,” he said.

‘Historical value’

Meanwhile, there is also a campaign for preserving the iron bridge even at the cost of transportation hardships. “The bridge is of immense historical and heritage value and hence should be preserved as a pedestrians’ bridge. It got weakened because it was opened to heavy vehicles, which should never have been allowed through it. The riverside along the bridge is beautiful and green, and retaining that ecology should get preference over development,” said P K. Satheesh, secretary of Cochin Royal Family Foundation. Though the foundation had submitted a memorandum for the preservation of the bridge, it hardly evoked an enthusiastic response from the MLA, he said.

PWD sources, however, said that retaining the iron bridge was untenable as it would fail the minimum five-metre vertical clearance by the Irrigation Department, thus hindering boat service proposed through the area.

Printable version | Feb 25, 2021 7:14:31 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Kochi/proposal-for-new-bridge-yet-to-get-administrative-nod/article33662236.ece

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